each other’s professional knowledge. In the following brief narrative, teachers describe their experiences with a professional mentor, who is a practicing artist, trained teacher and school well-being officer. It is a succinct description of how the ArtStories model applies to ongoing professional learning in an early learning setting. Standing back watching, waiting, Thinking, wondering … How am I going to do this? Having someone who believes I can do it Shows me how to do it And stays with me while I try to do it And then celebrates with me when I succeed (shared reflections from Ana Pethick, Tamara Wilson & Anja Tait, November 2008). The ArtStories model continually evolves with an active professional learning community. Family members, practitioners and advocates across disciplines – education, allied health, linguistics and the arts – believe in praxis that prioritizes people, place, language and culture as core elements for improved early learning, child development and successful transitions to formal and informal education, and employment opportunities across the life span. References Blight, C., & Tait, A. (2000). Making Magic. Paper presented at the Bi-annual Conference of Early Childhood Intervention Australia, Brisbane. Ober, R., & Bat, M. (2008). Self-empowerment: researching in a both-ways framework. A Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues (33), 43-52. Tait, A. (2005). Stories of Indigenous Community Engagement with the Arts for Education and Well-Being. Keynote presentation at the 11th World Congress of Music Therapy: From Lullaby to Lament, Brisbane, Australia. Tait, A. (2008). A conversation: What are the arts good for? How the arts fit (or not) in NT schools, health services and communities. Paper presented at the Charles Darwin University Public Lecture Series, Local experts, Local Issues, Darwin. Tait, A., & Murrungun, L. (2008). Art Stories: partnerships for learning and well being. Paper presented at the Charles Darwin Symposium, Art Works – Communities thrive. Educating for social cohesion: What Works and Why? Alice Springs. Tait, A., Musco, E., Atfield, M., Murrungun, L., Orton, C., & Gray, A. T. (2010). Weaving new patterns of music in Indigenous education. In J. Ballantyne & B.-L. Bartleet (Eds.), Navigating music and sound education. Meaningful Music making for Life, 2: Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle upon Tyne. Wallace, R., & Tait, A. (2006). Community control & knowledge management: practitioners & community working together. Paper presented at the Connecting Intergenerational Communities Through Creative Exchange Conference 2006, Melbourne.
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About the Authors Anja Tait is the Director of ArtStories. She is a Registered Music Therapist, music educator, and researcher, employed as Library Program Advisor for Public Libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres throughout the Northern Territory of Australia.
Leonie Murrungun is a songwriter and community linguist. She works at Numbulwar Community Education Centre in S-E Arnhem Land as a senior literacy worker and Indigenous language teacher. Contact: email@example.com URL: http://artstories.cdu.edu.au Note: The content for this article is comprised of the shared ideas and extracts from a book chapter [in press] and presentations individually and jointly delivered by Anja Tait and Leonie Murrungun 2005-2010.
ArtStories is different in each setting. Like the woven mat … No matter what color we are ArtStories is coloured by the experience, knowledge and skills we bring. The patterns of relationships we weave The reasons we work together in this way. The image of the woven mat is blurry ArtStories is blurry too Everyone is a learner and a teacher There are many entry and exit points There are many ways to do ArtStories It is not a program ArtStories is a way of being involved with each other. ArtStories builds on what we already know and do We value the arts for learning and wellbeing In ArtStories we see children excited about learning, feeling included, and knowing that they belong Adults feel this too ArtStories brings people together.
Additional early childhood music therapy resources available at www.imagine.musictherapy.biz.